by Ryan Streeter on April 18, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been proposing a 10% income tax cut. The following graph in a white paper (pdf) he released today shows how affordable it is. Other states looking to cut taxes in one area often have to generate revenue somewhere else.
In Indiana, even with a 10% income tax cut, revenues are projected to grow faster than the rate of spending.
by Ryan Streeter on April 17, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
Also from Global Insight, we learn that of the top 10 job-growth states, only Indiana and Kentucky are east of the Mississippi River. Only Texas and Washington are coastal states.
Job growth is presently a midwest-southwest thing. Also, note the prevalence of “mining,” which includes fracking and other forms of energy extraction.
by Ryan Streeter on April 17, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
The table below is from the economic forecast that Global Insight released (pdf) today here in Indiana. This is from the front section, which has to do with the nation as a whole, not just Indiana:
I think this sums up the economic tensions we are all experiencing today.
by Ryan Streeter on April 12, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
David Brooks puts the Obama budget and today’s most consequential socioeconomic trends in perspective:
We’re living in a country where 53 percent of children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock, according to government data. Millions of people, especially men, are dropping out of the labor force. Nearly half the students who begin college are unable to graduate within six years. The social fabric for people without college degrees is in shambles.
Yet President Obama is not offering proposals commensurate with those problems. Under his budget, domestic discretionary spending would be lower as a share of G.D.P. than it was under Reagan, both Bushes and Nixon. When it comes to this category, Obama’s budget would take us back to Eisenhower levels.
Aside from the stubborn fact that there are plenty of examples of how increasing discretionary spending does next to nothing for the social problems it’s supposed to fix, Brooks draws our attention to the main issue in this year’s budget debate: our nation’s inability and unwillingness to tackle entitlements is now being felt in very real ways on the discretionary side of the budget. Plenty of people have been predicting this for a long time.
It’s now becoming a reality – even in Obama’s budget – as the mathematics of entitlement neglect have caught up to us.
by Ryan Streeter on April 10, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
One general trend is that health care is, on average, cheaper in red states than blue states. For example, Massachusetts and Vermont, states whose health care systems closely resemble that of Obamacare, both show up near the top of the list, while the mostly red states of the South and Mountain West come in near the bottom. There are some exceptions to the trend: California is cheaper than the Dakotas, and Alaska spends more than New York. But the overall pattern is clear.
Data like this points to the benefits of federalism. Allowing states to experiment gives us useful information when it comes to figuring out what is working and what isn’t.
People are already flocking to red states. This data points to health care costs as one more reason to join them.
by Ryan Streeter on April 7, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
Texas’s low-cost, liberty-loving atmosphere has become an attractive alternative to California’s oppressive public sector and dysfunctional policy environment. No amount of heart-melting vistas, celebrity sightings, or traipses through wine country can make up for what almost appears a strategic attempt by one of the nation’s largest states to drive businesses and productive people away.
That’s from an AEIdeas post nearly three years ago, part of the “Texas vs. California” series I and a few others wrote about at the blog (which was called the Enterprise blog at the time).
This review today of Big, Hot, Cheap and Right at the NYT expands upon the point. These paragraphs are illustrative:
More recently, the state’s economic boom has been a mix of luck and good planning. Strict lending laws allowed Texas to dodge the worst of the housing collapse, while the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was a boon to the state’s export sector.
But “the secret ingredient,” Ms. Grieder writes, has been the industrial policy of Gov. Rick Perry, offering a generous broth of subsidies and incentives that Texas has used to attract hundreds of businesses that have richly diversified its traditional energy-based economy. This has had the added benefit of insulating Texas from the ups and downs of oil prices.
“The Texas model isn’t an accident, in other words, even if the state Constitution does call for a very stark version of it,” Ms. Grieder says. “Texas has a long tradition of looking outside the government for support — and often finding it. That predates the Texas revolution and was reinforced by the rise of the cattle kingdom and the oil booms.”
Ross Douthat has done a remarkable job assessing the core issue in the debate over marriage today: the separation of procreation from the legal and cultural understanding of marriage.
Viewed against the long arc of history, the widely accepted view that marriage is only a contractual arrangement between two adults has evolved rapidly. As Douthat points out, it is not at all uncommon today to hear people ridiculing as reactionary the view that marriage and procreation are fundamentally interrelated. Marriage as an arrangement between two consenting adults is largely accepted as the norm. It’s not only proponents of gay marriage who hold this view, but many people who also self-identify as conservative or Republican or both.
Douthat does the debate a service by reflecting on how this shift in the view on marriage has defined the current debate. He points out just how rapidly this has occurred by reminding us of how what is now called “traditional marriage” was held by people who were by no means what we would call conservative.
You don’t have to look very hard to find quotes (like the ones collected in this Heritage Foundation brief) from jurists, scholars, anthropologists and others, writing in historical contexts entirely removed from the gay marriage debate, making the case that “the first purpose of matrimony, by the laws of nature and society, is procreation” (that’s a California Supreme Court ruling in 1859), describing the institution of marriage as one “founded in nature, but modified by civil society: the one directing man to continue and multiply his species, the other prescribing the manner in which that natural impulse must be confined and regulated” (that’s William Blackstone), and acknowledging that “it is through children alone that sexual relations become important to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution” (that’s the well-known reactionary Bertrand Russell).
The Heritage brief he cites is really worth reading to help understand how legally and culturally we have long understood the relationship between marriage and having children. Scroll down to the quotes from Claude Levi-Strauss and G. Robina Quale for some added perspective.
The falling saving rate is a worrying trend. A low stock of savings increases vulnerability to economic shocks.
So says the Economist. Lest you think the downward trend in savings is a recent phenomenon, look at this trend over the past generation:
Our savings rate is very much a statement about how Americans feel about the future – or, more specifically, how we value it. A low savings rate signals a declining sense that investing, hoping, and preparing are all less valuable than they used to be.
I’m kind of late to the discussion about the report, Knot Yet (pdf), which analyzes the vexing problem in America created by marriage increasingly becoming an institution of the educated. Because marriage is more and more something that people with college degrees do, it also means that it’s something people do when they’re older.
But….people keep having babies, regardless of whether they are educated, in their 20s, or in their 30s.
The result is that children growing up in married homes are growing up with two parents who are more highly educated than average, and also earning more than average. Conversely, children who are growing up with single parents are in raised in homes with lower educational expectations – and lower incomes of course.
This chart sums things up:
The gap between the red line and the blue and green lines is another way to understand inequality in America today. And it’s probably the most consequential.
by Ryan Streeter on March 24, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.
A recent Pew survey should serve as a tribute to Paul Ryan’s multi-year effort to draw attention to our nation’s debt and deficit troubles.
The percentages of Americans naming jobs and the economy as priorities have remained constant over the past 4 years, but the percentage of people naming the deficit has risen considerably:
Unfortunately, the message about the drivers of our fiscal problems – entitlement programs – still hasn’t sunk in. More Americans want to keep Medicare and Social Security as they are than tackle the deficit: